The government has decided to buy at least 200,000 metric tons of Aman rice at Tk 31 per kg from local production this year to ensure proper price of rice for the farmers.
It also decided to hike duties on imported rice to discourage local importers from buying it from abroad. The duty might be doubled from the existing 10 per cent.
The decisions were taken in a meeting of the Food Planning and Monitoring Committee (FPMC) held on Thursday in the Food Ministry conference room at the Secretariat.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam chaired the meeting while Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, LGRD Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, State Minister for Food Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Secretaries of concerned ministries including Food Secretary Mushfeka Ikfat, NBR Chairman Nojibur Rahman and Director General of Food Directorate attended.
After the meeting, Qamrul Islam told journalists that the government fixed the Aman rice procurement target for this season at 200,000 tonnes. It would be bought at Tk 31 per kg.
This procurement of local Aman rice will be carried out from December 15, 2015 to March 15, 2016, he added.
The Minister said that the production cost of per kg of Aman paddy was calculated at Tk18.50 and rice at Tk 28.50. The government was determined to ensure fair price of rice for the benefit of the farmers.
Qamrul said the government had procured around 3.2 lakh tonnes of rice at Tk 32 per kg last year against the target set at 3.5 lakh tonnes.
The Minister said there is no adequate space in the government silos for keeping new stocks of food grains. The government has also decided to empty some spaces of the warehouses by enhancing Open Market Sale (OMS) of rice and flour and fair price programmes.
The meeting also discussed increasing duty on rice import and reduce the prices of rice and flour in OMS. As the present 10 per cent import duty on rice is very low. It is encouraging smuggling of rice from neighbouring countries. The duty will be doubled this year.
Though the meeting discussed lowering of rice and flour prices in OMS, it could not come to a consensus on fixing the prices. It will be determined within a day or two, he added.